tv Washington This Week CSPAN June 19, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
today, because of the gridlock in washington, cities is where things actually get done, where people of different backgrounds, different perspectives roll up your sleeves and get to work because there is a community mindednessmunity that gives you the wind at your back. i got into local politics because when i went away to college, i could see the difference between the bay area and san antonio. antonio,ays i like san very family-oriented city, the kind of place where if two people pass each other on the sidewalk downtown, they still look each other in the eye, there is still a connectedness there can you cannot say that about every big city. at the same time, the bay area had higher income levels, hot -- more innovative, more entrepreneurial. and my interest in going into
local politics was i had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder about my hometown. i wanted to see her you could combine the best of those worlds and have a community which was more prepared for the future, better educated, more economic development, and was also a place of great character, a place -- a city where everybody would love to live. steve: it was a full-time job with part-time pay? sec. castro: that is right. the charter that governed the mayor and council had been passed in 1951. it was a lot smaller city back then. the job that was definitely a full-time job. basicallyhe pay was $50 a meeting, so $50 a week, then one $3000 payment every year.
2015,ar after i left, in the voters actually passed an initiative so that the mayor could make $65,000 or something in that ballpark. you know, i like to think that my work in the work of others hopefully contributed to that. but when i was there it was basically $4000 or so. steve: this white house had considered you for a number of cabinet positions. why hud? sec. castro: there were two things that i was passionate about when i was mayor. one was education to my focused a lot on improving educational improvement. the other was revitalizing distressed neighborhoods. i focused a lot on downtown and eased cytosine antonio m especially. very well on place-based work. choice neighborhoods, promised neighborhoods, that the obama
administration was doing at the time. so, i had a passion for that. hud fits with that passion. steve: any advice that your predecessor gave you? days after ia few got a call to the president, i sat down with henry and he went through the department, the structure of it, the organization, he gave me his advice. probably the best advice that he has given me has been to pick your priorities. in these jobs, whether it is mayor or hud secretary or governor, whenever it is, ceo, nlye president -- there are o certain things you are going to be able to fully accomplish and you can only do that if you focus your attention on those priorities. in his advice was to not let a single day go by without measuring how you're doing on
those three or four important priorities. steve: so, what are your priorities? ere, the biggest priority has been transitioning this is the department of opportunity. housing is a greater platform despite reader opportunity in people's lives. a good example of that as last summer, the president announced connect homes, which is an ambitious plann to get everyone on broadband. in the last 11 months, we have grown that from 28 communities, about 2000 children it was reaching, too soon, probably 600,000 to 700,000 children it will potentially be reaching live in public housing. that is the kind of impact full work that i want to see us doing. and it is my number one priority. steve: when you look at cities
like detroit and flint, michigan , and they are seeing population exodus. what is the solution, how do you turn around? sec. castro: different ways. early on in my tenure here at gary, indiana. we had an initiative called strong city, strong communities. basically it was about the federal government stepping up and being a strong partner and liaison to communities like gary and flint, figuring out what they need and how we can help them become more competitive for federal investment. then also pursue plans for more housing, economic development. they're taking an old hotel which was an eyesore, which has not been in peration -- operation for over a decade, and turning that around which
will hopefully create more job creation and downtown. so, you do it -- you cannot do it just with grand policy. it starts neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block. that is what they are doing in detroit. the mayor is doing similar work in the downtown neighborhood in other neighborhoods in that area. so many people have left detroit over the decades that you are not going to just be able to get them back within a couple years. it is improving the neighborhoods one by one, offering more housing opportunities, offering great livability, that is going to pull people back in. all of this, how do you structure this department and your own decision-making process? sec. castro: what are the challenges of the federal bureaucracy is it is fairly regimented by statute. we have the secretary then the assistant secretaries with their
areas of responsibility. one of the things we have tried to do and the administration has tried to do is break through those silos. per my experience as mayor, i see that you need to be collaborative across program areas in order to be effective, and that has been my leadership style and it is one that is consistent with the secretaries of a lot of these agencies. but we try to get these departments to work together more and they get program areas within hud to work more closely together and approach problems realistically instead of just thinking about what can we get done in this narrow area? steve: you have how many employees in this area? sec. castro: about 8000. steve: how do you motivate workers, how do you get them excited about new projects? sec. castro: number one, provide
more opportunities for them to engage. what i found when i got here thirds of our employees are not headquarters, they are actually in regional field offices and we had more than 50 of them. engage the employees, find every way you can come in person come online, tell it through videoconference, to get them motivated and feel at the have a voice in what they are doing. secondly, you have to ensure that the priorities of the organization, like turning it into the department of opportunity, do not just mean something to the clinicals at work here, that the career goals have a chance to have input into the direction of those programs and that priority. re-empowertrying to our employees work in field offices and regional offices and decentralized some of what we do so does not just a set headquarters with the politicos.
i think if we can accomplish that, then across the organization, we will have employees that feel more invested in the results in the work they did -- that they do. steve: does the president use the cabinet -- sec. castro: i think it is fair to say that the president has been very engaged with the cabinet. there are formal cabinet meetings that happened several times a year by the president is constantly in meetings with definite -- different cabinet members. just a few days ago, most of the cabinet met with the president about the playspace work that hud and other departments are doing to figure out how we can better collaborate before january of 2017 to institutionalize things like promised neighborhoods, the department of education choice neighborhoods at hud. so, the president is very
engaged department by department on how we could do a better job and especially, these days, about how we can break through these silos and as an administration, do a better job to meet the goals we have. i think that if we can accomplish that, that will be a great service to the next administration and to the communities that we work with. a lot of their biggest challenges over the years have been good where work with here in the federal government? is it this person, or this person? if we can take a more administration-wide approach like the president has challenged us to do, i think it will help those communities get more done on their end. steve: i realize you are focused on this job, but is there another cabinet position which would interest you down the road? sec. castro: right now i'm just focused on hud. lifehe first time in my i'm not sure what i will be
doing a year from now. i'm trying to make sure that here at hud, we close out strong. that we reach the goals that we have. we have a lot of cool making that's the least be done. fall, ie later in the will think about what his next. thate just always believed things will work out well. nationalu came on the stage at 2012 at the democratic convention delivering the keynote address. how did you prepare for that? sec. castro: you mean after the anxiety, just don't mess up. first, you are elated that you have the opportunity. then you have this moment where you think, oh man, i do not want to blow it in front of everybody. that,ou calm down from you get into the work of lengthy speech and preparing for. speech andhe
preparing for it. the speech writer wrote some of it, and one of the reasons i think the democratic convention back then was successful -- or conventions in general are successful, is they help their speakers prepared. i had an opportunity to practice before i went up there. and, the experience itself, while i was going through it, was pretty much a blur. it was one of those things in life that you look at on more fondly afterward, but was hard to enjoy it in the moment because you are nervous about delivering the speech, you just do not want to mess up. you walk out in front of the podium and there are 20,000 people in the auditorium and you
know that all the networks are on your face, and that you have nowhere to go, and that you cannot mess up. those moments are fascinating because they really do show with somebody has got, what they bring. so, i was just happy to give a good speech and be on my way. steve: can you envision giving a similar speech is hillary clinton's running mate? sec. castro: that is not going to happen. but that is look forward to hopefully, to getting to watch it. steve: would you be interested in the position if she said i want you? i'm just not going to answer the question because i do not believe it is going to happen. steve: why hillary clinton, why did you support or? -- her? sec. castro: i pretty much have to stick to hud business.
steve: your wife is moving back to san antonio? sec. castro: my wife and my two children have lived with me since i started here in washington dc. my wife taught for 12 years, so she is going back to texas, the kids are going back to texas or the fall. my daughter will start school there in my wife will start teaching. without anyng up assumption about the future and we'll see what happens. steve: how did you meet your wife? on maystro: i met eric 20, 1999, the first day -- erica 1999, the first day i got back from law school. sixent on our first date days later, macwhinnie 6, 1999 -- may 26, 1999. we went to a festive restaurant.
we dated for eight years before 2007, so weed in are about to celebrate in the end of june our ninth anniversary. steve: your son is young, your daughter a little bit older. what do they think about what their data does -- their dad does? understands she that i'm in the cabinet and i work for the president. she enjoys sometimes when she gets to go to different events or comes over to the office. i'm not sure yet for my son, he is only a year and a half, but sometimes he comes to different events. steve: let me conclude with this russian. having spent time in washington, what is your biggest frustration about how this town works him and what has been your biggest learning curve? sec. castro: those two are very related because coming from local government, you are used
to things being more nimble, more flexible, because it was a nonpartisan environment, oftentimes you have people who may be ideologically opposed to each other, but in a community minded spirit, they want you to succeed and what more jobs to be created in what the city to do better. so, there is sort of a wind at your back there that does not exist to nearly the same extent in washington dc. so the biggest frustration and a learning curve has been that in these departments, obviously, there is a lot more bureaucracy, more regulation, more layering, statutory restraints. and the frustration was seeing great ideas, but also seeing all the obstacles to get there. and the learning was, ok, what
are the levers you have to pull to effectively get things done within the system. and that takes some time to learn. i would say the first few months i was here was the most frustrating because it was so unlike what i was used to. r so havelast year o been a lot more rewarding and a lot of the work we have on the table between now and the end of the administration come i know is going to be very rewarding. a lot of the things we have done, like connect home, have been exactly why i came here to hud. but it is definitely different. steve: what advice would you give the next hud secretary? sec. castro: number one, to have your priorities down very precisely. i would say, secondly, to develop strong relationships within the building and then
throughout the ministration, because it is those relationships, oftentimes, that help things get done, as well as relationships with congress. and a third piece of advice would be -- and this is advice people often give but it is hard to do -- is to try and enjoy it, try and have some fun. we are here in a building which was once voted the second but it building in dc, does very, very important work. and you ought to be able to take a moment and get something out of the fact that the work that happens here is providing great opportunity to people who need it and deserve it. and that they feel blessed in their lives because so many folks here and in other places are dedicating their careers to this work. so, trying to take a moment and
have that appreciation. steve: thank you for your time. sec. castro: thanks. whoext come a look at republican presidential candidate donald trump might choose as his running mate. he has compiled a list of some possible conteers. we are with paul singer who covers politics for "usa today." what kind of week has donald trump at -- had? mr. singer: not the best week. he has lost the porch from where he was to be to go, which is not where he wants to be. the issue is, he has made statements that have been viewed as inflammatory. he has had leaders of the republican party chastised him for his comments, and we have
seen polls come out the show he is losing ground against hillary clinton and the general election. not a good week for a candidate trying to march into the general election with some momentum. who doand that march -- you think is on a short list? mr. singer: like everything else about the donald trump campaign, it is going to evolve us. we -- to all of us. we believed a week and a half ago that among the people on the shortlist was bob corker, the senator from tennessee who has given foreign-policy advice to this or trump, who met with him in new york about a week or two ago. has beene senators who supportive of trump's campaign. but after some of his comments this week about what has been going on with the shooting in
has again tocorker distance himself, saying those were unfortunate condit -- comments. so you might be taking himself out of the running. one of the other top candidates with all be a top candidate was newt gingrich. again, mr. trump says something negative about the judge and his case in california, mentioning his mexican heritage. newt gingrich says that is an inappropriate comment. donald tru then says newt should shut up. but this week they might have made amends. newt gingrich might be on the right side. it is hard for us to know, honestly, and -- mean this without criticizing donald trump. it is hard to know who would become herbal standing next to le standing next
to him on a stage because donald trump is so unpredictable. a lot of candidates would say i do not know if i want to be on where iet with a guy don't know what he's going to say tomorrow. because i'm going to have to answer for. steve: there is always an ad and flow. is this any different for donald trump? mr. singer: it is different in the sense that donald trump has none of the normal ties to the political process that another candidate would have. even when john mccain picked sarah palin, which was an out of the blue choice, sarah palin was still an elected official from alaska, had gotten the press, and john mccain have the backing of the entire republican party without any question about his stature. the whole idea in that case was to balance his experience, his were,r knowhow, as it
with her youth and energy and sparkly party. with trump, everything is up in the air. he is a newcomer, we do not know what his agenda items will be can we do not know who he's looking to for advice. we do not know if you take any of the traditional balancing factors -- does he need someone with more political experience, some of from a different judge of a, someone from a different ethnicity? we do not know. steve: he spent a moment talking about senator bob corker, a businessman from tennessee. he met with him earlier this month to talk about foreign policy. he is the chair of the senate foreign relations committee. what this he bring to the public and ticket? -- republican ticket? mr. singer: just that. if he does not have expertise in government but the people around
him do, that what we need to get something done in government, there is a process that trump admits freely has not been his background. he will turn to experts. would bee corker, he able to bridge the gap between the white house and capitol hill. help move legislation through the senate and through congress. but after this week, i'm not convinced corker wants that spot. time will tell over the next couple weeks whether other people decide to distance themselves from donald trump and of we do not want to be part this campaign because we think it is too unpredictable. steve: from what we know, the announcement will be made in cleveland during the convention? mr. singer: we believe that is the case but i do not put any money on donald trump anymore because he really is doing it totally outside the box. happens, he makes
announcements in strange ways. throwing know we'll get the vice presidential announcement on twitter at 1:00 we morning -- in the morning. steve: thanks for being with us. several years ago we set down with senator corker. that conversation. senator bob corker, republican from tennessee. when did you first think about moving from business to politics? sen. corker: you know, i was leading an effort in our community to try and make sure everyone had an opportunity for decent, fit and affordable housing. i was doing that as a civic endeavor and i was asked to serve at the state level and i ended up going on a real board, if you will, at the state level. it just sort of migrated. it was not about politics. it was more -- all about public policy. and so, i ended up one day, i
had sold my first company at the age of 37 and a few years later decided it was something i really wanted to pursue. steve: your first company was construction? sen. corker: yes it was. steve: how did that start? i had started working like most folks when i was 13 doing all kinds of odds and ends and migrated to being a construction laborer and a rough carpenter when i graduated from college. i ended up being a construction superintendent so after four years i had built some regional malls around the country and learned how to build projects and i saved $8000, so when i was 25 i went in business. i started doing a lot of repeat work, small projects where i could be paid quickly and the company grew at about 80% a year the whole time, ended up building shopping centers around the country, retail projects in
18 states. so, it was energizing, it was a great place to be. the energy when you come into the front door would almost knock you down. and i sold that when i was 37 to a young man who had worked with me for many, many years. and of course have done several things since. i ended up acquiring a good deal of real estate through the years through portfolios and other companies. anyway, i love being in business. i loved everything i have ever done. steve: let me ask you about malls and plazas and developments like that. how do you have a vision to say we're going to put this here? sen. corker: yeah. so, in the beginning up until i was 37, mostly what i did was build projects for other people and then i began owning the projects myself. but you know, a random shopping center, you basically know that a particular tenant wants to be
in a location, so you try to find a place that you think will work and over time you option property and end up negotiating the lease and then build the project and of course, you figure out, you end up having architects and others involved with you that cause it to evolve in the right way. but i will tell you that being a developer, being a builder, really helped me in my first public office, elected office, being mayor of a city, and that is to be able to create a vision, a bold vision, and to put the pieces in place to make it happen. i really do think that that helped me tremendously in being the mayor of chattanooga. and even though this is a legislative job, i think it has helped me here in trying to put the pieces together to make things happen. steve: a lot of midsized cities are really struggling. their downtown areas. what is different in chattanooga? sen. corker: you know,
chattanooga is the greatest community. i love it and i represent the whole state of tennessee, each city is different. i could not be more proud of it. i gave a talk in marietta, georgia the other day about how chattanooga became the way it was. i became so emotional about my hometown. chattanooga, one of the things that is unique is our city has been able to keep the civic, business, and cultural center downtown. which so many cities across our country have not. we obviously have a lot of entrepreneurialism there and some great manufacturing especially recently brought in a great company. it is filled with people who are so unique. i mean, people who give of themselves to make other people's lives better. it is a very, very unique place in that regard.
and then if you look at the outdoor amenities, i just yesterday rode my bike with my wife elizabeth along the riverfront, which again, as a community, we created, it is an outstanding place to live. i do not know of a community that has a better quality of life in america than chattanooga. the interesting thing is, it just keeps getting better. we have been able to build on the successes of people who have come before us and i could not be more proud of the people of my community, and i could not love living there more than i do. steve: so based on that, what advice as you look at other communities, larger cities like detroit certainly suffering a series of problems separate than what you faced in chattanooga. what advice would you give the neighbors? how do you turn around a downtown area? my. corker: i met a man in 30's who gave me some advice.
he built the city of columbia from scratch in maryland. went out and bought, i think, 15,000 acres or whatever and build the city from scratch. at a time when i was getting involved as a civic leader. i knew that i was going to be successful with my first company. i went on a mission trip to haiti and it affected me in a huge way and i wanted to be part of helping make my city a better place. and i met jim rouse in that process. what he told me i think is true. always create a bold, bold vision. bold vision, not a small vision. even if you just get 80% of the way done, you still accomplish so much more than if you have a small vision and you achieve it. the other thing i would say to people who are mayors of cities is, do not do a plan and let it sit on a shelf.
plan and make it happen. i think that is what has made chattanooga so unique. you know, when i was mayor and so many people have done things of equal significance in our community, we created a vision to do a 21st-century waterfront plan and built it, came up with the idea, the funding, developed it and built it in 35 months and when citizens see that you're going to carry something out, that you're not going to just create a study or a vision and let it sit on a shelf, you carry it out and make it real. what that does is it energizes the city and they want more. they want more. so, again, create a bold vision, get your community involved, and when you lay out what you are going to do something, do it. and, again, we have been so fortunate to have that happen over and over again in our community. steve: you ran for the senate once and lost in a primary. what did you learn from defeat?
sen. corker: i did run in a primary back in 1994. there were six of us in the republican primary. bill frist won the race and should have. and he should have, he was the better candidate. if you run the right way and we did, bill frist and i became great friends and he actually recruited me to run for his seat when he left 12 years later. but i think what i learned is, if you run the right way, you never lose. meaning that the experience itself enriches you as a person. i mean, just the experience of going around the state with 95 counties and meeting citizens and seeing where they are in life and understanding what motivates people, you cannot run an elective race like that and run the right way and lose. so, that was what i learned. you know, candidly, i did not ever think i would run for united states senate again. i ended up being in an appointed
position right after that. again, that kind of validates what i am saying. a newly elected governor asked me to serve and his cabinet as a result of the way the race was won. i loved it and told the gentleman i was going to leave the day i started and ended up going back into business and people in my community, our community asked me to run for mayor and i did. i did not expect to do anything electorally after that. i really didn't. then bill came down and talked about the fact he was retiring. i think people who offer themselves for public office and go about it in the right way, and so many people do, i think it is hard to not take away something from an effort like that that makes you a better person. steve: based on that, who are your role models? sen. corker: you know, i do not know.
i, you know, i have taken a little bit from a lot of folks. i don't know if there is anybody that is in particular a role model. i love serving with lamarr alexander, my colleague. he is an outstanding senator. i loved getting to know howard baker through the years. at the same time there are so many people who have -- i take a little bit from everyone. i do not know that i could say there was anybody who was my perfect role model. steve: if you look at howard baker and it lamarr alexander and your brand of politics, is it different from other states or legislators? sen. corker: i do not think so. when you say different, what do you mean by that? steve: you are not aligned with
the tea party, you are often viewed as the bridge between democrats and republicans. sen. corker: yeah. i look at myself as a true fiscal conservative. i really do. and i think that, you know, i mean, we have laid out those tough things that need to happen to save our nation. i am not talking about just laying them out rhetorically. we have written bills that have the tough medicine in them that lay out what needs to happen to make sure that entitlement programs that so many people depend upon are solvent over the next 75 years. that our country is saved in the process. i think one of the things that would make me unique, possibly, in our state, is the fact that i was a real business person. so many people say they were in business but, i mean, i was really in business, and built a
company that operated around our nation and understand what it takes to go through that. i look -- through that. so, i look at myself as a significant and serious this will conservative. at the same time, i understand that the goal is to make gains. to make our country stronger along the way. i do not know what brand of, to use your word, politics that would be. i really do consider it a tremendous privilege to be here and i wake up every day trying to make our country stronger. one of the things i hope you will never interview me about is taking cheap political shots or trying to make it about me. i really do wake up every day knowing, again, our citizens across tennessee have given me a responsibility to wake up and to use every ounce of political capital that i have to advance our nation to a better place, so
i do not know what brand of politics that would be. steve: do those cheap shots occur in the senate? sen. corker: gosh, yes. i think yeah, there is no question, obviously. i will leave it at that. i think that if you look at the role that outside groups have begun to play and the effect that it can have on people that you know are otherwise sensible, thoughtful people, and how people can end up being pushed into positions that you know that our not advancing our country's interest, that certainly has an effect. everybody here is human, nobody here is without having made some mistakes, but i do try to resist, if you will, with every ounce of energy i have.
i try to resist forces that push you in a direction that certainly are not about making our country stronger. steve: if you could fix the senate as an institution, what would you change? sen. corker: well, i think the senate does not really need fixing. meaning that i think the way the senate has been set up by our forefathers certainly should work. i think that people coming here really attempting to be great united states senators versus potentially using the united states senate as an operation to do something else that has nothing to do with the great united states senator. and when i say being a great united states center -- senator, that is taking the problems and issues we have and taking them head-on and to try to stretch, i
find so many and it happens at the white house, too. i find folks being afraid of trying to stretch their base and trying to get to a place where you actually solve a problem. and to me, i mean, having political support is all about trying to explain how, if we could stretch some, we can get to a place that makes our country stronger and still live within the principles that respective folks ran on. but there seems to be more recently, it has not it about that, i will put it that way. but let me say this. there are a lot of really, really great people here. i will say this, i came up here with a healthy disrespect of the united states senate.
no doubt there are frustrations that exist serving in the united states senate. i know it is sometimes difficult for the american people to see this, but there are some outstanding people here who wake up every day really trying to advance our country and move it ahead. and sometimes i wish the american people could see more of that, versus some of the se public efforts that have in some cases nothing to do with that. steve: is the republican party, is the base more narrow than it should be at the moment? sen. corker: look, i have always said republican party is a big tent party. to me, i have always looked -- and i do not want to be offensive to my friends on the other side of the aisle, but i have always thought the republican party was the party that should try to be the adult when it comes to making tough decisions. and, you know, especially when it comes to fiscal issues and those kind of things that make
our stronger -- our country stronger from generation to generation. i will get quibbling from the other side. i have always felt like what it came down to making the tough decision, that is what the republican party was about. and again, attached to that is about ensuring that people have opportunities to better themselves. i do not think we talk near enough about the second part. to me, in many ways, have not done enough yet about the first part. i do think people back home sometimes forget republicans only have one third of government right now, and sometimes it is difficult. but when you think about the fact that over the last two years we have real reductions in actual spending that have taken place and tax policy has been fixed for individuals, something
that did not happen when george bush was here and had both the house and senate, we were not able to do that and that was done for 99% of the people of -- in the country. even with a third of the government, strides have been taken. but i do not think we focus near enough on ensuring that we are the party of opportunity, too. i think sometimes we can forget our goal here is to try to make sure that every day we're doing things that improve people's quality of life and they have the opportunity if they are willing to put out the effort to enhance their family's opportunity and individual situation in life. that is what brought me into this. again, that is what brought me into the public arena was working on an issue that i really thought was going to affect people in a real way.
10,000 families in my home town of chattanooga. again, this was a civic endeavor. they were affected in a positive way. i was able to see that and i felt the same way as the commissioner of finance. and i certainly felt that way as the mayor of a city. i think that again, you can have things -- i never did a business deal with anybody and feel like i did some pretty significant ones for guy who started with $8000 in savings. i never did one where the person on the other side of the table said, look, we will do it exactly the way you just said. there was a negotiation that took place and obviously, for me to have entered into that transaction, i must have felt there was something that was good for me that was coming out of that. and i assume that the person on the other side of the table must have felt there was something good for them that was coming out of it. and i think sometimes that part is forgotten about here, too.
steve: speaking of families, let me ask about your own family. growing up, where in tennessee? how many mothers and sisters and described her parents. sen. corker: chattanooga, tennessee. we lived in south carolina when i was a younger person. my dad was transferred over and he was an engineer at dupont. he was transferred when i was 10 or 11. my sister two years younger. she lives in marietta, georgia. i have a wonderful wife named elizabeth who grew up on a farm. we had been married for 27 years and we have two daughters, julie and emily that are roughly, depending on when this airs, 25 and 24. and the 25-year-old is married to someone she met here on our staff. he is developing apartments. my younger daughter is living in new york. she is product development thater with a company
makes these shabby, stylish handbags where a portion of the proceeds go to feed people in africa. but they are both happy. and as a dad, that is the most important thing in life is that they are productive and doing well and happy with who they are. -- who they are as individuals. elizabeth is happier than she has ever been. i am gone for days a week now and appear and i say that in jest. i am fortunate to be married to someone who would allow me to do what i am doing and to be such a strong-willed, good person. so, i feel very, very fortunate with having the family that i have. and that is the kind of thing you care about on a daily basis. steve: how did you meet your wife? sen. corker: i met her on a
blind date. she was doing interior decorating, which is what she still does some of, for one of my best friends kept saying, you have got to take this person out and somehow or another we ended up on a blind date. and we kept dating from that point on. steve: did you grew up in a political family, did your parents talk politics? sen. corker: no. as a matter of fact, when i first began making of running for public office, i literally went out to my parents' home and apologized to them. i said, hey look, i am kind of embarrassed but i am thinking about running for the united states senate. no, we did not. my dad ended up, over time, when he retired, he ended up serving as the mayor of a small town, it was nothing like a political job, i assure you. i think he ran an ad for $25 and
the local people and got more votes than anybody else and served as mayor for four years. but i think that was after i had decided to run for the united states senate. so, no. that was not what we talked about. my dad was a little league baseball coach and worked at dupont. we went to sunday school and did all those things that people in middle-class families do. certainly politics was not something we talked about. as matter of fact, i loved business, i really did and i still get excited when i hear one of my friends or someone else for some big deal they are getting ready to work on. but i had some success and it has allowed me to serve in a way that i think is very unique. as much as i love business and even know i did not come from a political family and all, i really do cherish the fact that
i am able to weigh in on issues that are very important to people across our state and country. steve: one of those issues is a member of the senate foreign relations committee. you have been to how many countries? sen. corker: i have not counted recently. but i would say i've been to, i don't know, 56, 57, 58 countries. many of them multiple times. i have been to pakistan four times, iraq four times, afghanistan four times. repeat visits, turkey, syrian border multiple times. so, you know, over time you certainly absorb a lot and as you are alluding to, i think, here i was a mayor and a business guy who built shopping centers around our country and now i am the ranking member on foreign relations and it has really taken a lot of quiet work and a lot of travel in the last six and a half years to feel like i had the ability, if you will, in a small way to be helpful in that effort. steve: when you went to haiti as a citizen, not as a senator,
what did you see? sen. corker: i was in my late 20's and by this time i had been in business 24 years and i knew i would be successful. i went with a church group -- they needed someone who knew something about construction. and what i saw was just people in such need who were so grateful for any kind of assistance that people were willing to give. and i not only saw grateful people who had the biggest smiles and lived in such dire poverty, but also saw that the people who were really helped were the people who went on the trip to help others. i mean, no doubt we were able in a really, really small way to help these families in need. but i think everyone of us left impacted in a way that affected the entire rest of our lives.
and so, you know, we all know of the parables and sometimes reverse of what you think may happen, happens, and certainly in that case, i was the one who was helped, not the people i was there to help. steve: regarding your more recent travel, how do you think the world views america today? sen. corker: well, i still think we talk pretty negatively about our country and let's face it, we have let ourselves down and we have let the world down. i still think we are viewed with tremendous strengths. we are still the greatest economy in the world. if you look at leaders around the world they want their kids to come to school here and go to college. we are still a respected country. coming into work today i bumped into a lady who was getting ready to do a publication for a chinese audience. you know, i do think that our
inability to deal with fiscal issues has really affected us in ways beyond just our own economy. it really has. i was just recently in china, japan, and south korea. the chinese look at us as being not as competent as we otherwise might be. and then our allies and south korea and japan are worried about whether we will be able to live up to the obligations that we have agreed to. i think we are at a point where all of us who have some effect on where our country is headed should take notice and realize we are not living up to the standards that we've lived up to and most cases in the past. we need to get our act together and we need to solve these problems, we need to begin to move away from governing that crisis and act far more responsibly in what we are doing. we need to realize the rest of
world is watching and we, as the greatest nation on earth, continue to flounder in these ways i think it makes the world itself a less safe place. steve: how do we get there? sen. corker: i think we certainly are going through a low point right now in dealing with our country's issues. i think that countries, companies, individuals go through cycles. and, you know, i think that we obviously have been at a low point in that regard. but i feel a critical mass of people building, at least here, who want to rise to the occasion , and again, so much of it, the american people have more to do with that than they think. i mean, we look out across our country and people on one hand say, look at how divided congress is. look how divided our country is, too, and whether people want to
admit it or not, back home, elected representatives end up reflecting the more fully than they think. look, our nations -- i think the financial crisis that happened in 2008 was a blow. shattered some people's feelings about free enterprise, certainly not mine. we are going to have to build back from that. i think our best days are in front of us, i really do. i believe our best days are in front of us, but we have got to again again as elected officials remembering that the reason our country is so great today is that those people who came before us ensured that and they were willing to make sacrifices to ensure that people who came after them had a better life, and certainly the generation that is leaving right now certainly needs to do a much better job of that.
steve: let me conclude on the snow. what is next for bob corker? any interest in national office, being on a ticket? what else do you want to do? sen. corker: i have always lived by this sort of life standard that you do the best job you can at the job you're in and everything else will take care of itself. i really wake up every day wanting to be the most impactful united states senator i can be towards making our country stronger and not to make it about myself but to make the things we focus on those things that cause our country to be stronger, and i do not have anything on my mind right now other than that. and continuing to be a good parent, a good husband, and hopefully, a good citizen. steve: any advice from your wife on this? know, myer: no, you wife is very apolitical, i assure you, and very unique for
a public official's spouse. so fresh, so strong in so many ways. and she would say that i think she likes the way that i serve and she likes the independence with which we both are able to live at present. we both know what a privilege that is, and i think she would just cheer me on and ask me to please continue to take on the toughest issues we have. steve: senator bob corker, thank you very much. sen. corker: thank you, sir. the political primary season over, c-span's road to the white house take you to this summer's political convention. watch the republican national convention starting july 18 with live coverage from cleveland. going into the convention no matter what happens and i think we are going to go in so strong. announcer: and watch the democratic national convention starting july 25 with live coverage from philadelphia. forward, let's win
the nomination, and in july let return with a unified party. fight then we take our for socioeconomic, racial and environmental justice to philadelphia, pennsylvania. announcer: every minute of the republican and democratic parties national conventions on c-span, c-span radio, and www.c-span.org. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] coming up monday morning, in the wake of the orlando mass shooting and the subsequent alabaster by connecticut democratic senator for therphy, a reporter washington post talks about the schedule this week in congress, including senate actions on gun control. then representative mark meadows, republican from north carolina, and the chair of the
government operations subcommittee talks about last week's vote to censure -- and democratic congressman from texas, cochair of the boating rights caucus, on his new efforts to strike down voter id laws in states and it to update the boating rights act. and we'll talk with the atlantic's marilyn thompson about the presidential election fund designed to help get it on their campaigns, yes $300 million is untouched due to campaign finance laws. be sure to watch "washington journal" monday morning. join the discussion. on tuesday, the federal court of appeals upheld the sec rules for treating the internet like a utility. requiring internet providers to treat all internet traffic equally. monday on the communicators, fred campbell, technology director and former sec wireless
bureau chief, and matt wood, policy director, are on either side of this decision and talk about their views. they're joined by the washington post reporter. has come upthe sec with first time gone further than that and said this scheme which once governed the monopoly telephone network applies to opens the door for additional relation which was never part of the net neutrality debate. >> we think of this as the sec returning to the law. treating it like a communication service and an infrastructure and a transmission system and making a distinction between the carriage and a content on the internet. announcer: watch "the communicators" monday night on c-span2. tonight, "q&a" with followed bys, british prime minister david cameron taking questions from the house of commons.
in later another chance to see our interviews with how secretary william castro and tennessee secretary -- senator bob this week on q and a, aarp ceo jo ann dinkins talks about her organization and her book, "disrupt aging: a bold new path to living your best life at every age." jenkins, ceo of aarp, why did you take that job? >> it was unexpected. i have spent over 25 years in public service in a number of government agencies and i had the opportunity to come over and be the head of the aarp organization and s t